physicists famous for not-physics


by flamenco
Tags: famous, notphysics, physicists
flamenco
#1
Mar7-08, 02:45 PM
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Hi, guys,

Just found out that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a trained physicist. Made me remember that the Bengali film director Satyajit Ray was also one. Which makes me think there are probably hundreds of physicists out there who made their names in some other field. Physicist-Novelist? Physicist-Cold war spy? Physicist-NBA star?

However 30 minutes with a search engine = zero return. So maybe this is the right place to pose the question: can you name someone with a physics degree who became famous for something else?

Operative word here is "famous," as I'm sure there are just as many obscure physicists laboring in non-physics. And the more distant the area from physics/science/math, the more interesting to me.

If anyone can point me to a website covering this topic, it'd save me the trouble of creating one.
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on Phys.org
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Asphodel
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#2
Mar7-08, 02:49 PM
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Brian May has a Ph.D. in astrophysics...
Vid
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#3
Mar7-08, 02:52 PM
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Bryan May quit his astrophysics doctorate when Queen got successful. He actually went back finished it last year.


EDIT: Bah, too late.

Kurdt
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#4
Mar7-08, 02:59 PM
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physicists famous for not-physics


Stephen Fry has a degree in physics.

EDIT: That could be a load of rubbish but I'm sure I heard he had one on a talk show some years back. i'll try and find out for sure.
robphy
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#5
Mar7-08, 03:35 PM
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Here's one:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0788167/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naren_Shankar
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/...us.CSI.lm.html

See also:
http://physics.ramapo.edu/~phil/phys...icists_do.html
which says (among other things) Jimmy Carter has a BS in physics.

For not-so-famous physicists, there is the "Hidden Physicists" column in "Radiations"
http://www.spsnational.org/radiations/ [not sure if you can see that column online].
Hydrargyrum
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#6
Mar7-08, 05:07 PM
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Joseph Lagrange
Carl Gauss
Leonhard Euler


All are famous for their impact in math
Gokul43201
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#7
Mar7-08, 05:25 PM
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Quote Quote by Kurdt View Post
Stephen Fry has a degree in physics.
No way. Fry is quite a dunce when it comes to science. The level of difficulty for the science questions on QI is astonishingly low.
Kurdt
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#8
Mar7-08, 05:31 PM
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Quote Quote by Gokul43201 View Post
No way. Fry is quite a dunce when it comes to science. The level of difficulty for the science questions on QI is astonishingly low.
Yes sorry about that. His father was apparently a physicist and thats where the confusion probably occurred. For some reason I was under the impression he did a second degree in physics in the late eighties and I was damned sure I'd heard him talking about it on a chat show about 5-10 years ago. Oh well.

*puts on dunce cap and sits in the corner*
Poop-Loops
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#9
Mar7-08, 06:19 PM
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Quote Quote by Hydrargyrum View Post
Joseph Lagrange
Carl Gauss
Leonhard Euler


All are famous for their impact in math
Nice try, but that would be like calling the guy who invented MRI a medical doctor because everybody uses them these days.

Moreover, they certainly are well-known for their impact on physics.
George Jones
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#10
Mar7-08, 06:40 PM
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http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1346803712/tt0077089
f95toli
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#11
Mar7-08, 07:12 PM
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There are -perhaps not surprisingly- quite a few well-known sci-fi writers that also happen to be physicists: Gregory Benford and Alastair Reynolds are two examples (and both are ,as far as I know, still working as physicists)
George Jones
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#12
Mar7-08, 07:24 PM
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Quote Quote by f95toli View Post
Gregory Benford
Coincidentally, earlier today I chatted with a colleague about Benford's novels; I think I've read three.

Also, Solzhenitsyn.
Helical
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#13
Mar7-08, 09:18 PM
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Isaac Asimov comes to mind, though he did not just write fiction.
Asphodel
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#14
Mar7-08, 09:53 PM
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Quote Quote by Helical View Post
Isaac Asimov comes to mind, though he did not just write fiction.
I'm pretty sure Asimov was a Biochemist?
Helical
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#15
Mar8-08, 01:40 AM
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You're right of course...I guess I was thinking of his Understanding Physics textbooks.

But yeah I guess he doesn't apply. :P
Helical
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#16
Mar8-08, 01:42 AM
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Double post, forum lagged.
Schrodinger's Dog
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#17
Mar8-08, 03:33 AM
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René Descartes (Cartesian co-ordinates were invented by him) was a mathematician as well as a philosopher. As was Bertrand Russel.
fuzzyfelt
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#18
Mar8-08, 04:10 AM
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The famous theologist, Pascal?


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